Despite State Tourney Loss to Mendham, Successful Summit H.S. Boys Basketball Season Sets Stage for Bright Future

After a steal, Summit's Jordan Gonzalez and Wayne Wong break back on offense.  The Hilltoppers played a strong game, but fell to Mendham, 53-40, in the State Tournament.

SUMMIT, NJ - Entering the 2014-15 season, expectations outside the program for the Summit High School Varsity Basketball Team were not exactly sky high.  Eighty-percent of their starting line-up had graduated, with point guard Wayne Wong the lone, returning first teamer.

And there was the not-so-small matter of the head coach. Dan Healy had arrived to take the reins, making him the fourth Hilltopper Head Coach in as many seasons.  New players, new coach, new system. In sum, it looked like a proverbial rebuilding year.
Well, someone forgot to tell the players and coaches associated with the program or, if it was a rebuilding season, it was far from a tear down.  More like the basketball version of a live-in remodel. 
Numbers in sport rarely lie, but occasionally they do shroud the truth a bit.  True, despite a gritty performance, Summit ended their season with 53-40 loss to Mendham in the State Tournament.  Also true, the loss meant the Hilltoppers season record stood at .500 -- twelve wins and losses each.

The traditionally average-looking record does not indicate the decidedly above average, over-achieving nature of the team. a group which -- after slogging through a tough stretch from late December into mid-January -- went 8-5 leading into the State Tournament.
After learning Healy's new system and -- more importantly -- committing to it, the team gelled.  On most nights, Jordan Gonzalez was the top point getter, Wong the floor general, Pat Maloney played big inside, sophomore Will Schaffer was the sniper from distance, and either Dan Montgomery or Paul Flanagan servied as the consummate "glue guy" who contributed in myriad ways.  
But, given Healy's 94-foot, up-tempo on both ends of the floor philosophy, it took a rotation of nine-plus players to get the job done, so contributions from the likes of Gary West, Michael Kaelin, Alex Dadourian and Xavier McCormick were not only welcomed, they were vital.
The players bought in, and the coaches "coached them up."  Healy brought a passion and energy to the program, and made a smart move in assembling a staff around him -- which included Dave Field, Tim Simo, Wellington Smith, and Don Standing -- that brought strong skills of their own, and significant local knowledge.
The program looks poised for a big uptick.  The three graduating seniors -- Gonzalez, Maloney, and Montgomery -- will certainly leave a large hole to fill, and the program will once again need to replace their leading scorer next season.  But the returning players, led by Wong, will have a familiarity with the system and its leader, and should hit the court running.  Plus, they will be no doubt joined by several players from the JV squad, which had a successful 15-5 season.
The contest versus Mendham showed just how far Summit has come this season.  In a quarter where Gonzalez scored every Summit point, the Hilltoppers were tied after one, 11-11, and trailed by just one, at 18-17, at the half.
Despite back-to-back three balls fro the Minutemen's Brendan O'Donnell, Summit hung tough in the third quarter and trailed just 31-27 heading into the final frame in what looked to be a one or two possession game down to the wire.
Mendham showed it's class in the fourth, however, opening with a three and slowly, patiently, and efficiently easing the lead out to double digits.  Summit was chasing the game, and not converting on the offensive end.  Mendham, meanwhile, was coolly taking what the Hilltoppers gave them, which meant a string of trips to the charity stripe.
Brian Kenez made most of his 12 free throws during the second half and a bunch in the final frame.  Automatic at the line, Kenez ended as the game's high scorer with 22 points.  Gonzalez led Summit with 17, with Wayne Wong -- a force all night on both ends of the floor -- chipping in eight.
"Mendham is a really good team, and the goal was come out in a 2-3 zone, keep it close, and turn it on late," said Healy.  "We just needed to convert better at both ends of the floor."
Still, Healy freely confessed his pride, affection, and respect for his team.  "Credit to the kids, fourth coach in four years, and they had a lot learning to do.  I really like this group, they bought in, and I am grateful every day that I got to coach these guys."

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Sun, May 20, 8:00 AM

Summit Summer Farmers Market, Summit

Summit Farmers Market

Community Calendar Food & Drink Green Health & Wellness


Sun, May 20, 2:00 PM

Summit High School, Summit

Summit Symphony Orchestra Concert

Arts & Entertainment


Mon, May 21, 7:45 AM

17 Kent Place Boulevard, Summit

Monday Morning Yoga

Health & Wellness

Summit Police Blotter

May 17, 2018

4/24 - At 0728 hours a report was taken for a theft of two (2) sandwiches from a business on Morris Avenue. The manager reported that at approximately 0330 hours a male entered the business and removed two sandwiches from a refrigerated case. After doing so, he exited the store without paying for them. The male suspect was described as Hispanic, approximately 6’0”wearing a blue/gray ...

Audio: Point View's Petrides on Bloomberg -- Portfolio Diversification is Key

May 17, 2018

Point View Wealth Management's Managing Director and Portfolio Manager, John Petrides, live on Bloomberg Radio discussing where investors should allocate money today:

​​​​​For nearly 25 years, Point View Wealth Management, Inc. has been working with families in Summit and beyond, providing customized portfolio management services and comprehensive ...

NY Times Bestselling Parenting Author Speaks with Noelle Kirchner

HomeTowne TV host and Central Presbyterian Church pastor Noelle Kirchner sat down with NYT bestselling parenting author, Dr. Leonard Sax to discuss his newest book, The Collapse of Parenting.  Dr. Sax appeared at HomeTowne TV (HTTV) in mid-April for Noelle’s latest episode of her parenting series, Chaos to Calm.

As a parent, most of us want the best for our ...

Stocks Can Rise in a Rising Interest Rate Environment

Investors remain concerned about the potential impact of higher interest rates on stocks. In their most recently released minutes, the Federal Reserve Open Markets Committee indicated the US economy is on solid footing and the economic conditions warrant continued gradual increasing of interest rates. This set off a sale in the stock and bond markets as investors began pricing in a fourth ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!


Managing the Ups and Downs of First-Time Homebuying

They accepted our offer, now what?

At times both equally exhilarating and terrifying, the purchase of a home can be a total roller coaster ride -- especially when it is your first time going through the process. Between suddenly being expected to understand the intricacies of contracts and the inner workings of a home, you are also expected to start writing checks for amounts you may ...

SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

Avenging Movie Credits

Warning! Nothing you read here will spoil Avengers: Infinity Wars because I didn’t understand it.

As a vibrant, relevant, totally hip and “with it” dad I am proud to say that I have now seen every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  All nineteen of them.

I am less proud to admit that, of those Marvel movies that I can remember, I didn’t understand any of ...